NBCUniversal’s news division plans to build a custom set at 30 Rock where it will produce daily morning and evening newscasts, seven days per week, for Quibi, the well-funded mobile video startup from chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg and CEO Meg Whitman.
The deal makes NBC News the first partner for Quibi’s Daily Essentials news and lifestyle programming lineup — and represents more cash that Quibi, bankrolled to the tune of $1 billion, is throwing at building up its original content. Quibi’s multiyear pact with NBC News is an “eight-figure deal,” the Wall Street Journal reported, citing anonymous sources. Quibi says it plans to launch in April 2020, priced at $5 per month with ads and $8 without ads.
Earlier this year, Quibi hired Ryan Kadro, former executive producer of “CBS This Morning,” to oversee news programming. NBC News’ morning and evening news shows, slated to run seven days per week, will have a production team and correspondents dedicated for Quibi programming. The NBC News’ new studio will feature mixed-reality graphics capabilities.
The Quibi deal is NBC News’ latest digital expansion. It produced twice-daily “Stay Tuned” shows on Snapchat — which Snap says draws an average of 30 million viewers monthly — and is on the TikTok short-form video platform. It also recently launched “NBC News Now,” a free streaming service anchored by Alison Morris.
NBC News’ Quibi shows — each under six minutes — will tap “NBC News Now” for breaking news coverage and also will draw on NBC News’ worldwide newsgathering teams and archival footage.
“NBC News’ worldwide reach brings in millions of viewers across its many platforms, and we are excited to work with them to deliver an innovative new way for millennials to get news in a format that fits into their lives,” said Katzenberg, Quibi’s founder and chairman and also chairman of WndrCo, one of Quibi’s investors. “NBC News’ powerful original reporting for Quibi will take viewers around the world in six minutes and provide them with the important stories they care about at the start and end of each day.”
Noah Oppenheim, president of NBC News, commented, “Millennials are as hungry for smart and trustworthy news as prior generations. With Quibi we’ll be able to meet that demand in a new style and format that works for them.”
Quibi has announced shows with a string of A-list talent, Guillermo del Toro, Antoine Fuqua, Sam Raimi, Jason Blum, Steven Soderbergh, Catherine Hardwick, Anna Kendrick, Steven Spielberg, Tyra Banks and Chrissy Teigen. The company raised $1 billion in funding, from investors including major Hollywood studios, and is seeking to bank an additional $500 million prior to launch.
Last month Quibi claimed it has booked $100 million in upfront ad revenue from six category-exclusive partners: Google, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Walmart, Progressive and AB InBev. The company’s name is short for “quick bites,” with the theory being that users will watch Quibi shows of less than 10 minutes per episode at different points throughout their day.